There is now overwhelming evidence that the avian ovary is a site of production and action of several growth factors that have also been implicated in the functioning of the mammalian ovary. Several members of the Insulin-like growth factor family (IGF), the Epidermal growth factor family (EGF), the Transforming growth factor-beta family (TGF-beta), Fibroblast growth factors (FGF), the Tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and others, have been identified either in the granulosa and/or theca compartments of ovarian follicles and in the embryonic and juvenile ovary. Some have been specifically localized to the germinal disc area containing the oocyte. The mRNAs and proteins of the growth factors, receptor proteins and binding proteins of some of the members of each group have been reported in the chicken, turkey, quail and duck. The intra-ovarian roles reported for the different growth factors include regulation of cell proliferation, steroidogenesis, follicle selection, modulation of gonadotrophin action, control of ovulation rate, cell differentiation, production of growth factors, etc. The aim of this paper is to provide a review of the current knowledge of avian ovarian growth factors and their biological activity in the ovary. The review covers the detection of the growth factor proteins, the receptor proteins, binding proteins, their spatial and temporal distribution in embryonic, juvenile and adult ovaries and their regulation. The paper also discusses their roles in each follicular compartment during follicular development. Greater emphasis is given to the major growth factors that have been studied to greater detail and others are discussed very briefly.